Prepare Your Voice for Singing if You Are a Smoker

Edited by Christine dela Cruz, Anonymous, Lynn

Have you ever struggled to sing right after you smoke? Is smoking something that you can't give up yet, although you do recognize it has an effect on your singing? It may help to know of some ways that can help inhibit the immediate effects of smoking on the voice. While it is best to quit smoking completely, if you are still in the process of doing so, it won't hurt to do damage control in the meantime.

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Common Negative Effects of Smoking that Singers Hate

  1. 1
    Husky voice.
    Even if your voice is not husky 100 percent of the time, you will most likely have episodes where your voice just suddenly turns lower and becomes rather raspy. It feels like something in your throat is being blocked and it does not feel as smooth as normal.
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  2. 2
    Inability to hold breath much longer.
    This is one of the long-term effects of smoking on the voice. Singing requires stronger muscles of the vocal cords so that breathing is managed accordingly when sound is being produced. However, the components in cigarettes, particularly nicotine, weaken the muscles of the vocal cords. Therefore, the quality of the sound being produced is affected eventually.
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  3. 3
    Coughing.
    There is this so-called "smoker's cough" which occurs regularly among smokers. These are persistent bouts of coughing, even when a person does not have flu-related cough. The continuous stress that vocal cords go through because of this persistent cough will eventually impair its function.
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  4. 4
    Feeling of having phlegm in the throat.
    This is related to smoker's cough in a way that there is an urge to cough because of the sensation of having phlegm in the throat, even when there is none.
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  5. 5
    Muscle tightness on the neck.
    Nicotine, apart from its direct negative impact on the muscles in terms of making them stiff and poor in blood circulation, causes dehydration, which makes muscles sore. This leads to a feeling of tightness in the throat, which radiates out to the neck. This is a rather uncomfortable feeling when singing, especially because you cannot exert much effort when having to belt out words.
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  6. 6
    Persistent swelling of the vocal cords and surrounding areas.
    Smoking in itself causes the swelling because of the components in cigarettes. At the same time, smoking makes the body weaker, thereby making it less capable of recovering from inflammation and other infections. Therefore, once the vocal cords start to get irritated and inflamed, the tendency for this to keep on happening is very high.
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  7. 7
    Unpleasant taste.
    While smokers may not really find the taste unpleasant anymore because they had become used to it, smoking often creates a bitter taste in the mouth which lingers in spite of intake of breath mints or brushing the teeth. Having this taste in the mouth can be rather distracting when singing.
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Embarrassing Things that Can Occur While You Sing If You Are a Smoker

  1. 1
    Inability to reach very high notes, or breaking of the voice once it reaches the higher notes.
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  2. 2
    Phlegmatic syllabication, which does not occur consistently, but will make a few parts of the song raspier than the others.
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  3. 3
    Sudden urge to cough in the middle of a song, because of itchiness.
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  4. 4
    Sudden vomiting.
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  5. 5
    Incorrectly pronouncing the lyrics because of tongue stiffness or uncomfortable taste in the mouth.
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  6. 6
    Foul breath that can reach your audience, especially if you are singing in a small air conditioned venue.
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  7. 7
    Having excess saliva or the sensation of salivating.
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  8. 8
    Lowered control over saliva, causing spraying of saliva on the microphone or towards the audience as you belt out the lyrics.
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  9. 9
    Lack of stamina or easily feeling tired after singing only one song.
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How to Prepare Your Voice for Singing if You Are a Smoker

  1. 1
    Keep yourself hydrated as much as possible.
    Dehydration will only make your muscles stiffer, as well as cause poor blood circulation. At the same time, drinking, particularly plain tap water or juice, will help clear out your throat. Do it in between smoking, ideally in proper proportion with every puff. Drinking will also help you unconsciously consume less, because you spend half of the time drinking while a cigarette is lit, instead of puffing.
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  2. 2
    Avoid drinking cold beverages, especially right after smoking.
    Cold beverages will only make the components of the cigarette linger within your throat and vocal cords, making the discomfort all the more evident. Cold beverages also make the vocal cord muscles stiffer, thereby doubling the negative effects of smoking.
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  3. 3
    Taper down your cigarette consumption at least a few hours before singing.
    Since suddenly quitting smoking may cause intolerable withdrawal symptoms, you can opt to just taper down your consumption, especially right before you sing. Aim to reduce your intake by as much as 50 percent, and you will immediately notice significant relief from the common effects of smoking on the voice. If you can't directly do this, look for alternatives, such as distracting yourself by staying in places where smoking is not allowed, or keeping yourself busy to the point that you will forget about smoking.
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  4. 4
    If you can't taper down your consumption, avoid puffing as often as you usually would at least a few hours before singing.
    Do a few puffs only, and hold it longer inside your mouth. Not only will this be less irritating to the throat, but it will also help you reduce your consumption.
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  5. 5
    Use a cigarette filter.
    This will help reduce the impact of cigarettes on your throat because it inhibits full inhalation of smoke and other cigarette particles.
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  6. 6
    Choose the lightest and thinnest cigarettes available on the market.
    These will have less effect on your vocal cords because of less nicotine. Also, thin cigarettes tend to burn much faster; therefore you end up consuming less. Before singing, avoid buying cigarettes that you like the most, as that will only push you to puff more. Buy your least preferred brand and type, and stay away from convenience stores or places where cigarettes are easily bought.
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  7. 7
    Apply hot compresses on your neck at least twp hours before singing.
    This will help soothe your muscles, as well as relieve the feeling of having phlegm inside the throat.
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  8. 8
    Load up on vitamin C.
    Smoking weakens the body's immune system, thereby making the body more prone to infection and other diseases. Vitamin C will add an extra layer of protection to your body.
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  9. 9
    Do breathing exercises.
    Do some basic stretching, or other easy routines and pair those up with proper and regulated breathing. This will not only prepare you for singing, but it will also help to distract you from smoking.
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  10. 10
    If you have to stay indoors before you sing, it's best to stay in a room with a humidifier.
    If the air in the room is too dry and you still smoke, that will further create that choking feeling in your throat. Also, a very dry room will impair breathing, so it does not condition you properly for singing.
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  11. 11
    Avoid using your vocal cords too much, such as when you have to talk a lot or speak loudly.
    It is already a given that when you smoke and then you have to sing, your vocal cords are going to work double time, as compared to a person who does not smoke. Subjecting your vocal cords to too much stress prior to singing will not help.
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  12. 12
    Stay away from carbonated beverages and go for warm tea or juice instead.
    Carbonated beverages are not good to drink before singing because they can make you acidic and cause acid reflux which leads to a broken voice. This effect becomes even worse when you smoke at the same time. Smoking dries up your vocal cords, and when acid does come back up and touches your dry vocal cords, they will be more prone to inflammation, or possibly infections. The concept here is similar to applying acid onto bruises or wounds. If vocal cords are extremely dry, there is the likelihood that it will bruise a bit, and when the acid touches it, it does not help it to recover.
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  13. 13
    Avoid eating too much sweets.
    Sweets and smoking are definitely not a good combination, as they are both irritating to the vocal cords. If smoking is something that you cannot control, or you know for a fact will cause bad withdrawal symptoms once you quit, make sure you at least avoid sweets a couple days before singing. If your sweet tooth is bothering you, go for fruits instead.
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  14. 14
    Get enough rest the night before.
    Sleep helps the body become stronger, and to recuperate from certain infections that make the body weak. Having enough sleep will make your body sturdier, in spite of the fact that you smoke.
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Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Anonymous, Christine dela Cruz

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